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Jury deliberations begin in Travis Rudolph murder trial

Former Florida State University football star could face life in prison if convicted
Posted at 10:07 PM, Jun 06, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-07 10:29:50-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — With a "stand your ground" argument off the table, Travis Rudolph's future is now in the hands of a jury.

Deliberations began Wednesday morning in the former Florida State University and NFL wide receiver's murder trial.

Rudolph is charged with one count of first-degree murder and three counts of attempted first-degree murder.

The defense team said Rudolph was the victim on the morning of April 7, 2021, when he was attacked by four men at his Lake Park home after an argument with his alleged girlfriend.

On the other side of the courtroom, the state is arguing that Rudolph was the aggressor, bringing a gun to a fistfight. The ensuing shooting left Sebastien Jean-Jacques dead and another man injured.

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At this point, jurors have seen all the evidence in this case. The state opened its closing arguments Tuesday by walking jurors through every bullet impact involved in the shooting and playing a 911 call from one of the victims.

"That is not the voice of someone who spent time stopping to throw away firearms. That's not the voice of someone who didn't care about getting his friend to a hospital," Assistant State Attorney Francine Edwards said during closing arguments. "That's the voice of a man who is terrified about what he just experienced, and that his best friend, who is sitting right next to him, is now dead."

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On the stand this week, Rudolph maintained the shooting was a result of self-defense after seeing two guns pointed at him.

"He said that he would do it again," defense attorney Marc Shiner said of his client. "God forbid he was in the same situation because it's better to be tried by a jury than it is to be tried by those thugs."

If convicted on the most serious charge of first-degree murder, Rudolph could face life in prison.